7 Surprisingly Decadent Recipes That Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Top nutritionists share their favorite recipes to help lower cholesterol—and you seriously won't believe something good for you can taste this good.
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Looking for ways to lower high cholesterol? One of the first steps to take is eating more home cooked meals that are full of fiber rich foods like oatmeal, brussels sprouts, kidney beans, apples and pears, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The Mayo Clinic recommends eating at least five to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day to help decrease your LDL (bad) cholesterol, because soluble fiber can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
“A plant-based diet can go a long way to cutting dietary intake of cholesterol,” says Dr. Nick West, MD, Cardiologist, Chief Medical Officer, and Divisional Vice President of Global Medical Affairs at Abbott’s Vascular Business. “Fruits and vegetables contain little, if any, cholesterol, and the added high fiber and vitamin content is not only heart-healthy, but may reduce the risk of cancer also.”
A healthy protein to include is fish. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. Fatty fish to include in meals can include tuna, salmon and trout. These types of fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your triglycerides. According to the Mayo Clinic, even though fish doesn’t affect your cholesterol levels, it’s still a great addition for all of its other healthy heart benefits. Other plant-based omega-3 fats include walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
Time to get cooking! From the kitchens of top nutritionists, check out these delicious and easy recipes to help lower cholesterol.
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Tempeh Quinoa Bowl
Looking for ways to include more plant based protein into your diet? Registered dietitian Erika Jacobson, MS, RD shared this plant-based Tempeh Quinoa Bowl recipe with The Healthy @Reader’s Digest. “It’s packed with ingredients to support healthy cholesterol levels,” Jacobson says, adding that the intake of plant-based proteins like tempeh is associated with lower cholesterol levels. Avocado oil, sesame oil, and tahini are sources of heart-healthy fats. Quinoa, eggplant, and broccoli offer soluble fiber, which helps to bind cholesterol and excrete it from the body, Jacobson says.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 head broccoli, cut into medium florets
- 1 large eggplant, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 12 oz tempeh, cubed
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Sea salt to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss the broccoli and eggplant with garlic and 2 tbsp avocado oil.
- Toss the tempeh with coconut aminos and 1 tbsp avocado oil.
- Place the vegetables and tempeh on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 min, tossing halfway. Cook until the broccoli is tender and the tempeh is lightly browned and crispy.
- Tahini dressing: whisk together tahini, lemon juice, water, maple syrup, and salt.
- Assemble your bowl by adding quinoa, top with broccoli, eggplant and tempeh. Drizzle with tahini dressing.
Magda Tymczyj/Getty Images
Overnight Oat & Seed Pudding
Making breakfast the night before is always a great idea especially for busy mornings. Jacobson shared her easy overnight oat and seed pudding breakfast recipe with The Healthy. “This easy and delicious breakfast recipe combines oats, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, which boosts soluble fiber intake,” Jacobson says. This fiber binds cholesterol and excretes it from the body, helping lower cholesterol levels. In addition, Greek yogurt adds extra protein to help support balanced blood sugar, which is also essential in achieving healthy cholesterol levels.
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
- 1/2 cup milk (dairy or dairy-free)
- Toppings: fruit (berries, banana or other chopped fruit), nuts or nut butters, cacao nibs, drizzle of maple syrup or honey, cinnamon
- Add all ingredients into a jar and stir well until combined
- Soak overnight to thicken
- Enjoy with desired toppings
Mashed Chickpea Salad
Looking for a new lunch or dinner recipe? Holistic nutritionist Amber Maron MA, NC, shared her mashed chickpea recipe with The Healthy. “Beans are wonderful source of soluble fiber, which helps remove cholesterol before it enters the bloodstream,” Maron says—and quickly adds that research has shown the longest-living populations in the world eat beans and lentils on a regular basis! Mixing in some creaminess with avocados that are high in monounsaturated fats can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, making this a delicious and heart healthy meal.
- 1 15.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 carrot, small diced
- 1 stalk celery, small diced
- 1 tsp capers, chopped fine
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Chopped fresh herbs like basil or parsley
- Place chickpeas into a large bowl and use the back of a fork to mash them. A few whole beans is just fine. Add avocado and mustard and mix together with the beans. Add the capers, celery, carrots, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well. Top with fresh herbs of choice.
- Serve over a bowl of leafy greens as a salad, or on top of whole wheat toast.
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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
A healthy snack is always a yummy idea! Theresa Gentile, MS, RDN, CDN, National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shared these pumpkin oatmeal cookies with The Healthy. “The oats contain soluble fiber, which can reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream, helping to reduce LDL, or bad cholesterol,” Gentile said.
Makes about 13 cookies
- ½ can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie)
- ½ banana, mashed
- ½ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups whole oats
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour, oats, pumpkin pie spice).
- Mix wet ingredients in another small bowl (pumpkin, banana, coconut oil, vanilla maple syrup).
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.
- Mix until just combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Drop on greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
- Bake for, about 25 minutes, or until slightly browned.
No-Bake Energy Balls with Chickpeas
Another protein packed snack to add into your diet are these no-bake energy balls with chickpeas that Gentile shared with The Healthy. “Chickpeas, along with other beans, contain soluble and insoluble fibers which decrease cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream and help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut,” Gentile said
Makes about 15
- 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup oats (can be 1-minute or 5-minute oats)
- 1/2 cup all-natural smooth peanut butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- For a smoother consistency, rub skins off chickpeas.
- Add all ingredients to a food processor except chocolate chips.
- Blend until combined. Add a little water if it’s too thick.
- Remove mixture to a bowl, mix in chocolate chips. Refrigerate until firms slightly.
- Roll into tablespoon-sized balls.
- Try not to eat them all at once!
Power Bowl Recipe
A recipe that you can meal prep for and eat throughout the week is this power bowl recipe. Holistic nutritionist Katie Bressack, IINC, AADP shares one of her favorite go-to meals that you can change up based on your choices for protein or toppings. The beans contain both soluble and insoluble fibers, which help decrease cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream. The roasted veggies are also a great source of fiber and can be swapped based on what you have in your fridge so no two bowls are ever the same.
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 1/4 cup of sauerkraut or kimchee
- 1 large sliced roasted sweet potato
- 5-10 roasted and cut Brussels sprouts
- 1 cup of chickpeas
- 2 handfuls of arugula, baby kale and baby spinach
- 1/2 avocado
- 1-2 scoops of herb tahini
- 1-2 scoops of hummus
- Preheat oven to 400F and roast the sliced sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with olive or coconut oil for 20 minutes
- Cook brown rice or quinoa per box instructions
- Assemble bowls with all of the ingredients and add the hummus and or tahini
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Slow Cooker Veggie Stew
Make your life easier by using a slow cooker to make meals. “We use our Crockpot for around half of our meals,” Bressack says. This veggie stew is full of vegetables and beans which are full of fiber to help lower cholesterol.
- 2-1/2 cups baby carrots
- 1-1/2 cups butternut squash or acorn squash, peeled and chopped
- 1-1/2 cups sweet potato peeled and chopped
- 2 – 3 cups of chickpeas
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2-1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- Parsley, chopped (optional for garnish)
- Put all of the ingredients in a slow cooker pot. Cover and cook over low heat for 4-6 hours, until vegetables are very tender
- Top with chopped parsley, if using.
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